Airtel ups Q1 profit and revenue, but Africa still weighs

Airtel ups Q1 profit and revenue, but Africa still weighs

30 JUL 2014

Bharti Airtel reported solid figures for the quarter to 30 June, although strength in its home market of India contrasted with a poorer performance for its African operations.

The company reported a profit attributable to shareholders of INR11.09 billion ($184.42 million), up 60.9 per cent year-on-year, on revenue of INR229.62 billion, up 13.3 per cent.

Mobile data revenue was INR22 billion (accounting for 9.6 per cent of total revenue), up 73.9 per cent year-on-year, with growth across its geographies.

The company had 287.15 million mobile subscribers at the end of the period, up 1.3 per cent during the quarter. The lion’s share of these were in India (205.52 million), which saw an increase of 1.9 per cent in the three months.

For its Indian mobile services, it saw an EBIT of INR29.5 billion, up 40.6 per cent, on revenue of INR127.53 billion, up 9.9 per cent.

Airtel said that in the country its “customer acquisition and retention strategy is consistently yielding positive results in terms of reduced churn, which has now dropped to 2.7 per cent compared with 3.2 per cent in Q1 last year”.

It has also upgraded and expanded its network, with the company claiming to have the largest 3G network in India.

Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India & South Asia, said: “The industry awaits more 3G spectrum being made available even as we look forward to the implementation of policies relating to spectrum sharing and trading. These have become essential to deliver sustained broadband growth and high quality service.”

For its African operation, while Airtel reported an EBIT for INR2.8 billion for the unit, down 23.7 per cent, it also said that the unit saw a net loss of INR8.2billion, widening from a INR2.99 billion loss in the prior-year period.

Revenue for the African operation increased 17.5 per cent to INR69.69 billion.

The company noted a number of positive trends affecting Africa, including a return to growth for the telecoms industry, “spearheaded by mobile internet and money”.

It also said that much of the increased loss was attributable to foreign exchange issues.

Christian de Faria, MD and CEO, Africa, said: “With Niger and Chad having obtained licences, we will now have 3G presence in all 17 countries. Our investments in licences, networks and marketing are directed towards sustaining double-digit revenue growth”.

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